October 22, 2014

Drug Take-Back Day can help with prevention

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This Saturday is the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Drug Take-Back Day, and it’s the perfect opportunity for people to get rid of old prescription pills, which, according to Det. Lt. Jeff Keister, with STING, have become the new gateway drugs.

Pain pills are prescribed to people to help them cope with the day-to-day struggle caused by pain, but in recent years these pills, especially hydrocodone and Vicodin, have been abused.

“The reality was there were a lot of people getting prescription opiates, and a lot of people started finding out you could abuse your pills,” Keister said.

For people not in need of pain suppression, the pills can create a high similar to heroin, Keister said. A person who starts experimenting with pills could become addicted to the pills and eventually heroin.

So why keep unused prescription drugs in the house if you no longer need them? If they fall into the wrong hands one time, there is a chance it could happen again. And again.

It is shocking to think that pills prescribed to help you or someone you know deal with pain could eventually lead to a destructive addiction, but that is the reality. Because many people who get addicted begin to crush up the pills and snort or inject the medications, there is no slow release as is intended with the medications. It intensifies the high, but also increases the likelihood of an overdose, which could be lethal.

Which returns us to our earlier question — why keep unused prescription drugs around if you don’t need them? Instead, why not participate in Drug Take-Back Day April 26? DEA receptacles will be available at most of the Michigan State Police posts, and several local law enforcement agencies have some sort of dropbox available for drug disposal.

While there is no guarantee that disposing of unused pills Saturday will prevent an addiction, it certainly can’t hurt. We applaud the DEA and local law enforcement for their efforts, and we hope people participate in Take-Back Day this Saturday.

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